MUVJBL U16 Girls review: Hawthorn’s magical run to the championship

HAWTHORN Magic looked dead and buried three weeks ago with one win from six rounds, but three consecutive wins in an even Ashe Pool, and the Magic has snatched fifth spot from the jaws of defeat in the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under 16 Girls competition to qualify for the championship division ahead of the two-grade split. In the Watson Pool, the top five was already secured, with four of those top five also tasting victory last Friday night.

Ashe Pool:

Dandenong Rangers 65 defeated Ringwood Hawks 23
Diamond Valley Eagles 44 defeated Kilsyth Cobras 23
Waverley Falcons 57 defeated by Ballarat Rush 64
Bellarine Storm 34 defeated by Keilor Thunder 54
Sunbury Jets 35 defeated by Hawthorn Magic 45

Diamond Valley Eagles dashed Kilsyth Cobras’ chances of making the championship division with a 44-23 win. The Eagles restricted the Cobras to single-digit scores in each of the four quarters, as the Eagles’ Teah Reichert scored 12 points, and was the only player to reach double figures in the game. The Cobras’ loss opened the door for Hawthorn Magic to take fifth spot, which they did with open arms, racing to a 26-9 lead at half-time against bottom-of-the-table Sunbury Jets. While the Jets outscored them in the second half, the Magic hung on to win 45-35. Evangeline King was the top scorer on the court with 11 points. Waverley Falcons pushed Ballarat Rush all the way in their match, coming back from a 14-point deficit at the final break to score 21 points to 14 in the final term, but ultimately fall short by seven. It meant the Falcons finished sixth overall, and the Rush finished the season on a high. Milly Simpson (19 points) led the way for the Rush, while Jasmine Connell (16) was the key scorer for the Falcons in defeat. In other results, Dandenong Rangers dominated Ringwood Hawks by 42 points, while Keilor Thunder had a comfortable 20-point win over Bellarine Storm thanks to 35 points from Tess Heal in the 54-34 win.

Watson Pool:

Bendigo Braves 31 defeated by Knox Raiders 49
Altona Gators 39 defeated by Bulleen Boomers 76
Sandringham Sabres 61 defeated Southern Peninsula Sharks 55
Melbourne Tigers 50 defeated Frankston Blues 41
Nunawading Spectres 41 defeated by Eltham Wildcats 59

Eltham Wildcats caused the upset of the round, and while they were never a chance of making the championship grade heading into the final round, managed to knock off Nunawading Spectres in an eye-opening 59-41 win. National Basketball League (NBL)1 youngster and future star Dyani Ananiev posted 18 points, as did Ashley Vee Mrmacovski, while for the Spectres, Olivia Morris posted 12. Knox Raiders made a point to Bendigo Braves in a fifth-versus-sixth victory, showing why they had landed in the top five teams. Three players scored eight points in the win, while Kaleah Bonanno finished with 11 points for the Braves. Melbourne Tigers survived an early scare, trailing by seven points at quarter time before clicking into gear and eventually running out nine-point winners. Amy Kurkowski was superb with 23 points, while Georgia Mann topscored for the Blues with 11. Meanwhile in other results, the top-versus-bottom clash went about as one would expect with Bulleen Boomers triumphing by 37 points as Ella McIntyre (20 points), Sarah Calvisi (12) and Emily Maltezos (12) made their mark, while Sandringham Sabres made it five consecutive wins with a six-point thriller over Southern Peninsula Sharks, 61-55.

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